encouragement · Knowing God

Does God allow us to face the “impossible?”


“God never gives you more than you can handle.”

Have you ever heard this phrase? I hear it frequently applied to difficult circumstances, but I believe it is untrue. It is a misuse of 1 Corinthians 10.12-13:

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. I don’t have any definite statistics, but I would guess that the most common excuse regarding temptation is, “I couldn’t help myself.” It’s a cop out (and I have said myself!). A true heart would admit one or more of the following: “I didn’t call on the Lord. I relied on my own strength. I didn’t resist. I didn’t flee. I didn’t follow Jesus’ example and remind myself of what the scripture says.” We are not tempted beyond what we are able, we simply don’t look for the escape hatch.

But what about circumstance? Does God allow us to face the “impossible?”

Maybe your spouse has succumbed to drug addiction again. They’ve lied about it, again. They lost their job, again. Bills, normally paid on a dual income will have to be covered with a single income. You will be raising your kids alone. You might lose your home.

Maybe you are sitting in the defendant’s box, indicted on a false charge. The prosecuting attorney is mixing a convincing cocktail of lies that both judge and jury are swallowing. You know you are innocent, but it doesn’t look good. A bleak future of jail time for yourself and a life of poverty for your family seem inevitable. You can do little more than pray and wait.

Maybe someone you love is mired in mental illness. Therapy only makes things worse. Few empathize, telling your loved one to “get over it.” You see sideways glances, arched eyebrows, and eye-rolls. You want to help, but feel so helpless. Sometimes you wonder if the person you once knew is lost forever.

Hope is elusive. 

I have seen all these scenarios. I have lived through them with people I love. I have seen what God can do for the faithful, and it is nothing short of amazing. The effective prayer of righteous people really does avail much.

Facing the impossible.

Consider the Israelites for a moment. God led them to the Red Sea, and they found themselves trapped between the Egyptian Army and the ocean. This was a rag-tag bunch consisted of slaves, women, and children not olympic swimmers or herculean fighters. Their options included: death by drowning or fighting a battle they would certainly have lost. The situation was truly impossible and God had led them to it.

Listen to what Moses told the people before the parting of the Red Sea:

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

~ Exodus 14.13-14, ESV

God showed His power over the impossible by providing the impossible deliverance. He parted the Red Sea and dried the ground of the ocean floor, allowing them to cross without difficulty. Did they have a task to complete? Certainly. They had to put one foot in front of the other and go where God led them. This was not a victory of their own means, but of the Lord’s.

What is impossible to us is possible to God. The situation we cannot overcome alone can be overcome by the Almighty God whom we serve. God may lead us to the impossible to remind us that He is still God, He still on His throne, and He will carry us through.

The Bible is full of impossible situations: Gideon’s Three Hundred vs. the Midianite Horde; David vs. Goliath; Jehoshaphat vs. Ammon, Moab and Edom; Hezekiah vs. The Rabshakeh; Peter’s deliverance from prison; the growth of the persecuted church, and so much more. In each case, the individual(s) had to do something—blow trumpets, throw a stone, go out to fight, walk out the door, continue to teach—but God always provided success far beyond their meager task.

There are times when God does give us more than we can handle in order to refine and strengthen our faith. He shows Himself faithful. He affirms His promises. He pours on us peace that passes understanding. If we cling to the Lord, we come out stronger, purer, and brighter.

Last week, my kids pulled out a songbook and asked me to teach them the old hymn, “One Step at a Time.” I can’t begin to describe how often these words carried me this past week:

One step at a time, dear Savior:
I cannot take any more;
The flesh is so weak and hopeless:
I know not what is before.

One step at a time, dear Savior:
I am not walking by sight;
Keep step with my soul, dear Savior:
I walk by faith in Thy might.

One step at a time, dear Savior:
O guard my faltering feet!
Keep hold of my hand, dear Savior,
Till I my journey complete.

One step at a time, dear Savior:
Thou knowest all of my fear;
One word from Thy heart, dear Savior,
And Heaven’s mansions appear.


One step at a time, dear Savior,
Till faith grows stronger in Thee;
One step at a time, dear Savior,
Till hope grows stronger in me.

~ Thomas J. Shelton

Are you faced with “the impossible” today?

Do you wonder if God will deliver you? Are you relying on your own power?

Do we truly believe the Lord will fight for us in our impossible situation? Are we looking to Him for relief?

Here is a list of passages for you to read, copy down, and/or pray over (I’ve included links to passages on Bible Gateway. Just click, go and read!).

Jehoshaphat vs. Ammon, Moab & Edom: 2 Chronicles 20
In particular, notice what Jehoshaphat says in verse 12: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Hezekiah vs. The Rabshakeh: Isaiah 37
I love what Hezekiah does with the message from the Rabshakeh. He spreads it out before the Lord as he prays in verse 14.

David vs. Goliath: 1 Samuel 17

Psalm 25
verses 1-2: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame.

Isaiah 40.27-31: He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”

Isaiah 41.10: fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Luke 12.4-7: “do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do…”

1 John 4:4: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.


Put one foot in front of the other.

Walk in faith—one step at a time.

6 thoughts on “Does God allow us to face the “impossible?”

  1. Amen! Thank you, you have hit on my pet peeve, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Right off the bat,half our problems usually stem from trying to handle things ourselves in the first place. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one! That phrase just doesn’t jive with what I’ve read in the Bible. I really like how you said this too: “half our problems usually stem from trying to handle things ourselves in the first place.” So true! I think of Abraham, Joshua & the Gibeonites and more. Thanks for reading and commenting! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s